EDWARD Nathan Sonnenbergs (ENS) has taken over smaller law firm Brink Cohen Le Roux, which specialises in mine and occupational health and safety and employment law and litigation.

The merger is the latest in the legal industry, which has seen significant consolidation in recent years, including movement of entire practices from one law firm to another, creating niche markets and expanding expertise within the law firms.

Twenty-five professional and other staff at Brink Cohen will join ENS in February next year.

A major reason behind the arrangement is the expertise of Brink Cohen in mine and occupational health and safety law, which will make ENS "the mining law firm of choice on the African continent", said ENS chairman Michael Katz in a statement.

International players have entered South Africa’s legal arena, with the latest being Baker & McKenzie, which, after the demise of international law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf earlier this year, opened an office in Johannesburg, taking over the Dewey & LeBoeuf team that was left behind. That team had left Werksmans at the end of last year to join Dewey.

Mr Katz said Willem le Roux and Pieter Colyn would join ENS as directors and jointly head ENS’s mine and occupational health and safety department.

Celeste Coles, an expert in mine and occupational health and safety law, will also join ENS as a director within the department.

"We can see the synergies that exist between the two firms will be of immense benefit to our clients and believe this will set a new standard in terms of a one-stop-shop service to the mining sector," said Mr le Roux.